By Mike Clements posted Jan 12th 2012
Corsair Link™ is an integrated system that gives you complete control of your PC’s CPU cooling and case lighting systems. I recently did some Corsair Link testing to document some of its features. This is yet another instance where my job affords me the opportunity to play a fun game while testing our products. It's a difficult job but, someone has to do it. Take it easy on me if you see me out in BF3 land.
When I first heard the term "Link", it was being associated with PC modding. If you are old enough, are a late night TV junkie, or if you are an ex-cop like me, the terms "mod" and "Link" may bring other pictures to mind... But, that's not what we are talking about here.
After using Corsair Link and modding my system with it, I now think of parametric PC monitoring and modding goodness instead of late 1960s television shows. I used Corsair Link to document and then adjust the cooling set up in my gaming rig while playing BF3. I have to admit to being pleasantly surprised by how useful Corsair Link and its many features can be. Corsair Link is definitely a system tweakers delight.
My current gaming system uses an ASUS MIVE-Z and an Intel 2600K CPU. I have a moderate 4.2GHz OC on the CPU and I am cooling with a four fan push/pull setup on a Hydro Series H100 CPU cooler. The cooler is top mounted in an Obsidian Series 800D case, as seen here.
Now, here is where it gets interesting. As you can see below, I currently have two Corsair Link RBG LED strips mounted in the case. What you can't see is the two thermistors I have attached to the Corsair Link Cooling Node, monitored by the Corsair Link Commander, and displayed in the Corsair Link user interface. One is attached the back of the CPU socket. The other is attached to the south bridge heat sink which is located just below the memory slots and behind the primary GPU in the top PCI-e slot.
In the Corsair Link user interface, or UI for short, there is an image of a case which represents your case. It won't be an exact representation unless you just happen to have Graphite Series 600T. At the default settings, the monitoring tiles for each device are on the left side of the screen. This screen shot shows all of the devices connected to, or monitored by, Corsair Link including the fans, the H100, GPU temperature, LEDs, and the two addtional thermistors. During the course of the testing I used various set-ups. This set up in the picture below has a single NVIDIA GPU.
The Corsair Link monitoring tiles can each be renamed and and placed onto the case layout to give a more accurate representation of where each item is, as seen below:
You can create custom cooling profiles and fine tune each monitoring tile. To do this, you can left click any monitoring tile to reveal the Config Panel for that tile, or right-click it for more advanced navigation options.
Once you set your monitoring tiles and customize the monitoring functions, open the dropdown menu under File in the top left corner and save the profile.
I began my BF3 testing by setting up a cooling profile in the Profile Management section. I set up a very quiet profile and named it Low Noise.
The next feature I used to assist with tuning my system cooling is the Logging feature. With the Logging feature, you can select what items you would like to monitor and select the monitoring interval as seen below:
The log file is saved in the Corsair Link folder as a CSV file. These files can be viewed with Microsoft Excel, Open Office, and other reader programs. I opened mine with Excel and converted the view to a simple column chart as seen below. I used the log files to compare my three profiles and select the best combination of noise and cooling.The MaxRPM setting is the best cooling but it is also the most noisy setting. The Low Noise profile was obvoiously the most quiet, as the fans were at their lowest RPM settings. However this profile ran approximately 10°C warmer on the CPU while playing BF3. I decided that the Custom 1 profile was a nice compromise that hit in the middle.
This is a rather broad approach to what can be done with Corsair Link. In this test, I changed all the fans in the system for each profile. However, if you enjoy a more precise level of tuning, you can literally adjust each individual fan or monitoring tile for testing and customization. The level of customization will be determined by how much time you decide to dedicate to system tuning.
I also used another very interesting option that is controlled by the Lighting Node. Each individual channel of the lighting node can be controlled. The node has push buttons on it for each channel which will cycle the LEDs on that channel through several preset colors. In the Corsair Link UI, you can enable an RGB slider, or Red, Green, Blue slider. With this slider, as seen below in the Config Panel, you can mix these colors to come with a huge range of color options. Now THAT is customization!
It gets even better. Note that I have added LED 1 to the CPU 1 group. If we select the LED 1 option to change with temperature as shown below, then the LED will adjust across its assigned color ranges based upon the temperature of its device group. In this case, it cycles relative to the CPU temperature. This was really useful while gaming because I had a simple visual temperature indicator and I did not have to tab out of the game to keep an eye on my CPU temps.
Believe me when I say that this example barely scratches the surface of what users will be able to do with Corsair Link. As I said above, Corsair Link is a system tweakers delight and we cannot wait to see what some of you creative people come up with. The ingenuity of what you can do with Corsair Link will, dare I say.......be "linked" to your imagination.